The bodywork may be leaner than your average receiver but its sound quality is super-sized. Don’t let that modest power rating fool you either, as the NR1602 is capable of mustering plenty of punch and dynamism from within its slimline frame.
Sliding old favourite Hellboy II: The Golden Army into the tray, the NR1602 turns its DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack into a thing of beauty. The climactic battle between Hellboy and Nuada is a breath-taking maelstrom of effects blaring from all seven speakers. Clanking weaponry, punches, kicks, stomping robotic footsteps – all whipped round the room with authority and dynamism. It’s a real thrill ride.
But it’s not all about brute force. The soundstage also shimmers with detail – nowhere more so than the exquisitely recorded Troll Market scene – plus there’s a control and smoothness to the sound that only comes from an audio brand operating at the top of its game.
Steering is fast-paced and seamless, the soundstage is expansive and dialogue sounds clean and forthright. It’s a really impressive performance across the board, and that extends to music playback too – in stereo mode you get a wonderfully crisp and velvety sound from the NR1602, showing the sort of deftness and musicality you might not expect from a movie-centric amp.
We’re really impressed by the NR1602. Not only is it teeming with features, including DLNA streaming, internet radio, AirPlay and 3D support, but its slimline design is also gorgeous and sound quality is sublime, despite its low-sounding power rating.
It’s also a smooth music streamer, supporting a decent range of formats and AirPlay works flawlessly, providing a brilliant way of unlocking music on your Apple device or computer.
Granted, other AV receivers in this price bracket offer even more for a lower price. The Onkyo TX-NR609, for example, gets you Pro Logic IIz, Audyssey DSX, Wi-Fi dongle support, 4K2K video scaling, more connections, greater power, THX Select2 Plus certification and Spotify into the bargain for under £500. But we fancy the Marantz just edges it in terms of sophistication and musical refinement, plus it’s a lot nicer to look at.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 9